Category Archives: Search

Google Instant or Instant Commercial?

Andre Vellino blogs about the new Google Instant service. In performing a very smart and simple search experiment, Vellino noted what each letter of the alphabet first suggests when using Google Instant.

Very interesting results from his blog post (“Feedback Effects in Google Instant”) reproduced here:

Vellino asks:

does “Instant” degrade the quality of “Suggest”.  i.e. the more people use “Instant” the more the “top-N” suggested terms are reinforced, thus thinning out the “long tail” of queries.  Is “Instant” going to increasingly cater to the lowest common denominator?

There’s a notion shared amongst certain observers of the traditional print media that advertising is “the license to do business”  and that this “license” can be coercive and domineering in some very harmful ways (direct and indirect censorship and influence, corruption of content, and so on).  In the online world it can be much more subtle and insidious, but the threat remains the same: how far do you go to please your advertisers and in this case, how much will it corrupt search?